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House bill would provide money to protect public transportation

(The following report appeared at GovExec.com on May 14.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two House lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation that would authorize $2.8 billion over three years to improve the security of public transportation.

The funding would go toward improving security on Amtrak, subways, buses, commuter ferries and other modes of transit.

The bill would provide grants to pay for surveillance equipment, communications systems, training and technical support for public transportation employees, systems to detect explosives and weapons of mass destruction, among other things.

Backers of the bill said funding for improving mass-transit security has lagged far behind aid for air security.

"If we're going to prevent another 9/11 [terrorist attack], we must close the security gaps that everyone knows still exists," said bill sponsor Jim Turner, D-Texas, ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., co-authored the measure, one of a series aimed at improving homeland security that Turner and others Democrats on the committee have introduced.

The Senate Banking Committee passed similar legislation last week.

Friday, May 14, 2004

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